Lionsgate is near a deal to set production of Hulu pilot “Crushed” in Vancouver after dismissing North Carolina as a possible location for the comedy. An agreement for the Canadian location depends in part on the British Columbia government granting the project tax incentives, which North Carolina denied the production.
The Vancouver deal would come as North Carolina faces pressure from the entertainment industry over a law passed last month that bars local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances. The state law renders null a local Charlotte law intended to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
Lionsgate is one of several entertainment-industry companies to take a public stand in opposition to the state law, joining Turner Broadcasting, 21st Century Fox, A+E Networks and others in threatening to keep future productions out of the state. “We will be hard pressed to continue our relationship with North Carolina if this regressive law remains on the books,” Lionsgate, which is in production on the ABC special “Dirty Dancing” in North Carolina, said in a statement issued last week.
But the decision to shoot “Crushed” in Vancouver is driven by the likely financial incentives. North Carolina’s Department of Commerce had rejected an application for “Crushed” to receive tax credits from the state’s filming incentive program. The state had granted a reported $10 million in credits to “Dirty Dancing.” Vancouver and Charlotte were among multiple locations being considered for the “Crushed” pilot, which Lionsgate is producing with Homegrown Pictures.
Last year, North Carolina lawmakers agreed to a budget that would allocate roughly $30 million a year to film and TV production tax credits. But the controversy over the anti-LGBT law has threatened the state’s status as a production hub. The state is being pressured to repeal the law on the heels of a successful movement by the entertainment industry and other business interests to convince Georgia’s governor to veto a religious-freedom bill widely seen as discriminatory against LGBT citizens.
“Crushed,” about African-American siblings running a winery in Napa Valley, is set to star Bashir Salahuddin and Regina Hall. Writer Tina Gordon Chism is exec producing with Stephanie Allain.